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PUD low-income and senior energy assistance available

In the coming year, Snohomish County Public Utility District expects its energy assistance programs to help more than 19,000 senior citizens and low-income customers struggling with their electric bills. The programs currently provide reductions of 20 percent, 40 percent or 60 percent off PUD electric and water bills. The discount percentage that a customer receives depends on their income level.

This low-income discount is available now to PUD customers who have a household annual income that is below 125 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $27,938 for a family of four. Also eligible for discounts are senior citizens who are 62 years of age or older and have a combined disposable annual income of less than $25,988.

For an application or more information about the PUD's assistance programs, customers should call PUD Customer Service at 425-783-1000.

Among the additional assistance programs are:

• Project PRIDE, administered by the local chapter of the American Red Cross, which raises voluntary contributions from PUD ratepayers. The money goes to low-income customers who need help with their bills. For more information, call the Red Cross at 425-252-4103.

• Helping Hands, which receives donations from PUD employees to help low-income senior citizens with their winter electric bills. The program is funded in a variety of ways, including employee payroll deductions, a holiday bazaar fundraiser, recycling drives, coffee funds, book fairs and other events. Snohomish County Human Services helps administer the program by identifying those in need and distributing checks to residents. For more information, call PUD Customer Service at 425-783-1000, Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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